Album review: THE PRS BAND – Time To Testify (Paul Reed Smith)


Pete Feenstra chatted to Paul Reed Smith for his Feature show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, first broadcast 5 March 2017.

THE PRS BAND - Time To Testify

Favored Nations [Release date 10.02.17] www.prsband.com/music (hear samples)

He’s been designing guitars for any number of name guitarists since the 1970s – Carlos Santana, Orianthi and Steven Wilson to name but a few – so it might be no surprise that Paul Reed Smith keeps his hand in with his PRS Band.

‘Time To Testify’ is rather a pleasant surprise (following his previous eponymous album in 2011), and for the most part Paul subjugates his evident guitar prowess to the groove, perhaps best demonstrated on the opener ‘Truth’ll Set You Free’.

Ably aided by vocalist Mia Samone a high standard is maintained throughout and there’s an almost perfect melding of rock and soul with psychedelic flavours.  ‘Breathe’ provides a further standout.  The band is completed by Michael Ault and Randy Bowland, guitars, and the Grainger twins Gary and Greg on bass and drums respectively.

The band’s take on Hendrix’s ‘Freedom’ and ‘Machine Gun’ works well and demonstrates the band’s effortless fusion, with Reed Smith’s guitar figures providing enough grit.  In terms of guitar style, and the underpinning funk, the album should appeal to fans of Richie Kotzen and – in the more reflective moments as on ‘Tears In The Rain’ -  Eric Johnson.

‘Testify’ and ‘Fifty To Life’ provide more great vehicles for Samone’s vocals and she excels on the Rufus-esque ‘Moving Mountains’ and the sinuously rocking ‘Runaway Train’.

Having heard Nancy Wilson’s current project with Prince singer Liv Warfield (Roadcase Royale) maybe we are witnessing a trend here in the mix of soulful (female) vocals and guitar grooves.  Tasty.  *****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

The Best of 2017


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 26 July.. In the first hour David pays tribute to the blues/rock guitarist Peter Green.

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